counseling to help a young child after divorce

« Back to Home

Balancing The Scales For Good Health: Providing The Best Nutrition For Chemical Dependency Or Drug Addiction

Posted on

Chemical dependency is a problem related to, but different from, chemical substance abuse. A person can abuse chemicals or drugs and not be dependent upon them. When one is chemically dependent, the human body develops a tolerance for the drug or chemical. And, when the substance is not available, the body suffers the effects of withdrawal from the chemical. This withdrawal can cause many problems related to health and well-being. With so many problems being faced by the chemically dependent patient, one important area that is sometimes overlooked is nutrition. Good nutrition for those in chemical dependency or drug addiction treatment/recovery is important to a successful outcome.

What Effect Does Chemical Dependency Have on the Body?

Depending on the substance being abused, the toll that chemical dependency has on the human body can be extreme. The body is often out of balance chemically and mentally. There are many resulting physical conditions and symptoms that have a negative effect on the patient. A few of the common symptoms include:

  • mental health issues such as anxiety and depression
  • sleep problems such as insomnia, excessive sleepiness/fatigue, and nightmares
  • muscle and joint problems such as weakness and pain
  • sweating/chills
  • nausea/vomiting and weight loss
  • hygiene issues
  • cardiovascular problems

These symptoms and conditions related to dependency on chemicals can also lead to problems related to a loss of appetite and malnutrition.

What is the Best Nutritional Approach for Those with Chemical Dependency or Drug Abuse Problems?

A chemically dependent or drug abusing patient needs the care and advice of a medical professional to treat the problem. However, the patient can be supported during and after recovery by providing the best nutritional health.

Chemical dependency is harmful to most body organs and systems. And, it can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies and other nutritional imbalances. To help fight the effects of the addiction or withdrawals, having a healthy, balanced diet is critical. Some of the changes recommended may include:

  • Increase in foods high in amino acids and other vitamins and minerals
  • Balancing intake of calories, fat, and protein to ensure adequate weight gain and blood sugar level
  • Increase in fiber consumption to improve bowel function
  • Avoidance of sugar and caffeine (which can often be addictive)
  • Eating smaller, more frequent meals to avoid cravings and bingeing
  • Eating a healthy diet of whole foods (grains, healthy fats, fruits/vegetables) and not fast or convenience foods
  • Supplementing with vitamins and minerals as directed

When the physical body is healthy and nutritional needs are met, the recovery process is easier. Nutritional advice from a healthcare provider or nutritionist/dietician is important to a healthy outcome, or visit a website like